As I was reading the responses to last week’s open discussion on how some of you reacted when you found out about your spouse’s affair, was in some ways very comforting and in other ways it was upsetting to me. It was comforting in that I realized I was not alone. Everyone appeared to have the same reactions as I did. We all appeared to lose weight, lose sleep, were not able to concentrate and had problems fulfilling our daily duties.

The thing I keep wondering though, is why under so much pain and duress did we all continue to try to save our marriages? Why didn’t we just throw in the towel and say that enough is enough?

I wondered why I listened to Doug say that he wasn’t in love with me, that he didn’t find me desirable, and just couldn’t turn on the switch and have feelings for me.  Why didn’t I just say “OK” and move on? Was I nuts? Did I suffer from low self-esteem? Was I desperate? Why did I live through the pain day after day, yet somehow kept trying?

I read everyone’s comments and felt that all of us continued to try to save our marriage while our spouses were putting out minimal effort. I wondered if we are all out of our minds. Why shouldn’t we give up?

Then today I believe I got the answer. Today Doug came home from work and showed me his post for Monday.  As I read the post, it explained to me the reasons why I didn’t give up.  Why I wasn’t being stupid.  Why I probably knew more than he did while he was involved with his emotional affair.

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Doug’s post was about selfishness, and how he finally realized that many of the reasons for his affair were related to his selfishness. I cannot explain how his words affected me. His words took away a lot of the guilt and feelings that I wasn’t good enough.  His words took away everything that had been weighing me down for a year and a half.

Finally I’m able to focus on our present and future, rather than focusing on the past and what she had that I didn’t. Today I realized why I endured the pain and didn’t give up on us. I realized that deep down I knew he really loved me and that we were meant to be together. I learned that he had temporarily lost his way and it was my responsibility to believe in us and do everything to keep us together–even if it meant compromising myself in the process. Today I was finally able to tell Doug it was OK and that I now really understand.  I feel so fortunate that I didn’t give up. For months I constantly questioned why I kept trying when Doug didn’t seem to care. I beat myself up over it.

Today I talked to the neighbor across the street. The neighbor I had talked about in a past post whose husband showed up at their house with another woman. She informed me that when her husband told her their marriage was over and he had found someone else, she just gave up. She said she wasn’t going to fight for him, and after a week of turmoil she called a lawyer.

Three months later the divorce was final. After talking to her about her husband’s affair, I wondered if things would have been different if she would have tried to save the marriage. Would they still be living across the street with their family intact? I had difficulty understanding how she just gave up and moved on  after only a week, where I continued trying for over a year.  Perhaps if she really understood the motivations for his affair,  the dynamics of an affair and that there is probably still love that exists between the two of them,  then she would realize there exists a real chance to save their marriage.

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Follow this link for a great article from Oprah.com about another woman’s story of getting over an affair. It will inspire you. Looking forward to hearing comments!

    13 replies to "Why Do We Try to Save Our Marriage?"

    • ruth

      Thank you so much for your thoughts I keep feeling the same way you do. I ask my self why do I keep trying everyday when he is not trying at all but I do believe deep down he love me and we are meant to be together. At the same time its only been a couple of months for me. I want to ask him so bad how he feels but right now he will not open up to me so I wait until the time is right. Sometimes I think he is afraid of my reaction to open up. I will wait until he feel comfortable again. I do believe time is on my side. I also so know that after a year if he hasn’t stop contacting the ow I will have to say enough is enough even though it will break my heart but how long to I hang on. How long do I wait for him to come around? that is what I ask myself every single minute of the day. When will it end? How long will this take. I will not give up, I love him so much but I dont want to be a marytr either. PS- He is very selfish but he doesn’t see that right now. The more I press him the more he withdraws so I will keep my distance until and keep letting him see that I am here for him. But as I even type this I wonder why dont I just give up and move on. NOT after 35yr he is my best friend my soulmate so I will wait.

    • Giving Up

      I too ask my self the same question, daily. My husband has been out of the house for two months now, but we have been separated for six. He is living with the OW. He professes his love for her on a daily, but insists that we remain friends. Says he can’t say that we will never be together again.

      I ask myself why I do not just attempt to move on as he has asked me to do? Why do I not believe that we are over? Is it the never ending presence of him in the house still? His toothbrush, his cologne, half of his clothes, his personal effects? Is it that he still finds it important to call or text me a lot during the day to see how I am?

      What is it that at THIS POINT I still can’t find the strength, or courage, or ability (not sure what you would call it) to just say enough is enough. I keep asking myself, if this really is it, if this is the way he really chooses to leave our relationship, do I really want to be his friend or am I just doing this to see if I can get him to come back? If I knew in my heart we were over and this was the way he chose to end it, would I really be his friend?

      I don’t really know the answer to that.

      The only thing I do know, is that after reading your post Linda, I think it is all clear. But I am wondering if I am disalusioning myself. Your husband never actually left you. Mine has moved in with the OW and while they already have had problems, he seems insistant to keep her in his life.

      To be honest, he says to give him a year….I don’t know that I can hold on that long…..I am nearly at my wits end as it is. I always said I would never give up….but I think I am really close. The thing that scares me is that if I give up, I will never really know.

      • admin

        Giving up, For your husband to be out of the house and living with the OW for 2 months and separated for 6, yet asking you to hold out hope for him is insane. I know it’s hard to let go permanently but you need to be preparing yourself for that possibility. He is contacting you because he feels guilty and probably because he is trying to keep you on a string for when his relationship with the OW explodes–which it will. I would let him know in not so many words, that you do not need him and you are moving on with your life, and prepare for that to happen. He will notice and it will affect him. When his relationship with her ends, if you choose to take him back at that point, then you can do what you wish on your terms.

    • Last2know

      Givingup-I would pack up all of his things and send them to him. That doesn’t mean it’s over for you but it’s a start and it will make him think you are moving on. See what happens and don’t make yourself so available to him, even texting. Let him feel what it would be like to not have you in his life at all and see what reaction you get. You have nothing to lose since at this point he’s with her. Have some dignity and take a risk. It’s part of taking care if yourself. I am not saying to give up but it is time for him to feel the loss. He has both of you so he is in a great spot. Don’t be afraid and expect the worst and you might be surprised and if not well then you will have started the road to recovery with or without him.

    • michael

      Ruth,
      I wouldn’t have been able to take it for a year. It’s been only about two and a half months sinse my wife stopped talking to him. I had enough, and it hurt, but I told her that maybe a divorce was what we needed and I was willing to move in that direction. I was no longer going to work on our marriage if it continued. It was unfair to me and the kids to have an unhappy home. It was unfair for me to pay obscene cell phone bills for her affair. And it was unfair to me to not know if she was still going to leave or not. I deserved to know where I stand and what was next.
      Giving up,
      I know you may feel like your giving up, but you have tried as hard as you can alone. It takes the both of you to make it work. I told my wife as I asked about divorce that I would help her in any direction she wanted to go. I love her that much. If the direction is out of my door, then I will carry her bags for her. Help her find a place and help her financially for some time. I came to that point. I think you need to get there before you realize it will feel better the day after.
      I can’t change what she has done. I can’t change what happened between them. And I can’t change the way I feel about my wife. It may take some time but I would get better and move on. And she would always be a part of my life. We are bound together by two wonderful loving kids. I just want her to be happy.

      • michael

        I Take That Back Now. She Forgot to tell me she was still talking to him on my sons phone. Not to metion learning how much she used our friends phone. We were going through his phone records to find other friends of his to tell. Another one of those “I didnt want to hurt you moments”. or was it a “I was in a fog” moment IDK. I saw her use of his phone and i dont even see the point in telling her what I found this time.

    • Cheri

      It is good to hear that I am not alone. I really feel I can’t turn my back on him despite the fact he says he won’t stop seeing this other woman. If I give up I feel I would be betraying him. I don’t believe we aren’t meant to be toegther no matter how hurtful he can be. I think this is an act of selfishness on his part. A stamping of authority if you like – to say ‘listen to me, I’m still my own person, I can still have choices’. Please let me know your stories – how you cope – if it ever works out ok in the end? I need a survival strategy. I feel like I’m messing everything up. He has moved out to a friends house a couple of months ago and he still seeing his girlfriend – it started in February. He says he doesn’t think he can give her up but I also think he see’s we could work things through. He says he is scared of having to go through all of this again. I think he has forced himself down this road and now thinks it is too late to go back. Our baby girl screams out in her sleep for daddy to come back. I’m so sad – please give me some words of advice.

      • admin

        Cheri, Thank you for commenting and welcome! Without knowing all the particulars of your husband’s affair, please take comfort in knowing that according to experts, the overwhelming majority of affairs do not last–they die a natural death. In the meantime, arm yourself with knowledge and power. Peruse the articles on this site and you should get some good ideas on what to do. Also, the people that comment on here are good people and you can learn from them as well. There is a very good chance that you can save your marriage. We did. But at the same time you must do some things for you and work on yourself and become strong and prepare for the worst.

    • terrified

      My husband and I were having problems but I didn’t know it was so bad. I would constantly threaten to leave and he would say to me that it hurt him so much and now he can’t take it anymore. I found out about his emotional affair 2 days ago and he hasn’t done anything physical but it hurts like hell. He wants to postpone divorce for 2 years because he says he owes me a master’s. He wants us to live together during that period as well. I’ve agreed provided he doesn’t sleep with anyone else. I want to think that I can work on our marriage in that time and bring him back to me when he sees that his other woman is just a distraction. I’m so scared of losing him and being alone. I still crave his love and affection and it hurts. He says he’s finished but still says he cares for me. I feel like perhaps he’s testing me to see if I’ll leave since I threatened to leave him so many times before. I need help, ideas and mostly encouragement. I just want my husband back.

      • michael

        Terrified,
        If I can tell you anything, take your time in making any decision. Im sure most here will tell you the same. Read posts on this site. Read a book (several suggestions on this site). Nothing has to happen today.
        ASK Questions of us here. We are all different and by no means am I or any of us here as paid therapist, but we have been down this road. Some for longer than others. Some like you who have just found out.

        • terrified

          Michael, thanks for your encouragement and at the very least your support. I have been reading posts and blogs and books and speaking with the counselor and they all say that if I want this to turn around I’ve got to not ask him about it, I can’t let him know that everytime his phone goes off my heart stops or that I’m fragile or weak. No man wants a needy crying woman. I feel like everyday I set out to do just that and I fail. Its been roughly 5 days or so since I found out and I’m just now eating again. I can’t sleep through the night yet, but its getting better. I just need to be able to know that I can make it through these next 2 years, and even if at the end I’m served with divorce papers I pray that I’m a stronger person for it. I just need to keep trusting the simple widespread advice and experience of others. Thanks for helping me know that I’m not alone and that someone cares.

    • ktpupp

      I just don’t know if this is gonna work out. I’m starting to fear that it is just too far gone, too late, to fix.

      Ugh, I’ve spent a lot of time tonight thinking about this. I had a wave of emotion flood me, cried a lot and got nosy and read a few things my H had written back in January which ended up with me reeling with pain.

      He had written out his answers to Gottman’s 17-Areas Scale and many of them hurt me very much to read. I know that it is wrong to snoop, so I guess I deserve what I got for reading them, but it doesn’t make them go away. I can’t make the words leave my mind.

      Oddly enough, many of them seem like issues that could be resolved if we are both aware of them and make the effort. Since he doesn’t know I read this, and isn’t telling me any of these things, of course things won’t get better and he will remain unhappy/unsatisfied.

      This document was written before I knew about the EA, when we were first going to counseling. He never told the counselor he was having the EA so we never really got anywhere with those sessions. Even the questions that pertain to A’s were not answered honestly, so I don’t know how much of what he wrote is truth, FogTalk or what.

      Linda, Doug… I’d love to send you some of the things he wrote to see whether you think they are the result of “affair fog” or seem familiar from your situation.

      • Doug

        ktpupp, Feel free to send them to us and we can take a look at them and give you our opinion.

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